BANGKOK—Journalists saw new fires burning Thursday in a Myanmar village that had been abandoned by Rohingya Muslims, and pages ripped from Islamic texts that were left on the ground. That intensifies doubts about government claims that members of the persecuted minority have been destroying their own homes.

About two dozen journalists saw the fires in Gawdu Zara village in northern Rakhine state on a government-controlled trip.

About 164,000 Rohingya from the area have fled across the border into Bangladesh in less than two weeks since Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police outposts in Gawdu Zara and several other villages, the U.N. refugee agency said Thursday.

The military has said nearly 400 people, mostly Rohingya, have died in clashes and that troops were conducting “clearance operations.” It blames insurgents for setting the villages on fire, without offering proof.

Rohingya who have fled Myanmar, however, have described large-scale violence perpetrated by Myanmar troops and Buddhist mobs – setting fire to their homes, spraying bullets indiscriminately, stabbing civilians and ordering them to abandon their homes or be killed.

On the Myanmar side of the border, reporters saw no Rohingya in any of the five destroyed villages they were allowed to tour Thursday, making it unlikely they could have been responsible for the new fires.

An ethnic Rakhine villager who emerged from the smoke said police and Rakhine Buddhists had set the fires. The villager ran off before he could be asked anything else.

No police were seen in the village beyond those who were accompanying the journalists. But about 10 Rakhine men with machetes were seen there. They looked nervous and the only one who spoke said he had just arrived and did not know how the fires started.

Among the buildings on fire was a madrassa, an Islamic school. Copies of books with texts from the Quran, Islam’s holy book, were torn up and thrown outside. A nearby mosque was not burned.

Another village the journalists visited, Ah Lel Than Kyaw, was blackened, obliterated and deserted. Cattle and dogs wandered through the still-smoldering remains.

Local police officer Aung Kyaw Moe said 18 people were killed in the village when the violence began last month.